If you want a really dramatic experience, come up from the yellow metro station at Hosök tere from the city center at night. When Hosök tere is lit it is majestic in its splendor, not to say that it is not stunning during the day too. Located at the end of the grand World Heritage Boulevard, Andrássy út, the square is the entryway into the best-known park in the city, City Park (Városliget). Like so many other things in the city, the square and the park were planned and built to celebrate the arrival and settling of the Magyars' forming a nation in 896. The tricky part at the time was that Hungary was part of the Austrian Empire and was beholden to the emperor while celebrating their independence as a nation. The monument as it is seen today was not completed until 1929, which had the collapse of the empire precede it.
In the center of the monument is a column 37m (120 ft.) high, topped by a large statue of Gabriel, the Archangel. The sculptor György Zala won a prize for his work at the World Exhibition in Paris after it had been shipped where it waited out testing of the strength of the column to support it. If you look at Gabriel's hands, he is holding a crown. Legend has it that Stephen, the first king, had a dream where Gabriel appeared to him and prompted him to continue his efforts to convert his people to Christianity.
At the base of the column are statues of the conquerors on horseback. The one in the forefront is Árpád the leading chieftain who led the six other Magyar tribal leaders in conquering the land. To the sides of the column in a colonnade, are seven heroes of Hungarian history on each side. Starting from the far left you will find King Stephen I, the country's first Christian king, followed by six other kings who followed him. On the right side, only the second statue is a royal; King Matthias Corvinus, who presided over Buda's golden age in the 15th century (sixth from right). Other statues found atop the colonnade are immediately to the left and right of the column, the chariots of peace and war. At the forefront top on the left and right sides are statues representing work and welfare, while on the other side glory and knowledge.
Heroes' Square is a popular place with kids who come with their parents, but also local kids and teens who generally arrive with their skateboards after the throngs of tourist buses leave the area. Many concerts, fairs, and political demonstrations are held on this plaza throughout the year.
Two of Budapest's major museums, the Museum of Fine Arts and the Exhibition Hall, flank Heroes' Square.
- © Frommer's 2013
- Highly Recommended 2010
- Heroe's Square
- Budapest 1146
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